NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The rain dissipated just in time for the opening of the 44th annual Corn Festival off Bainbridge Road.
Throughout Friday, members of the North Ridgeville Corn Festival Committee kept their eyes to the skies, hoping the sun would shine through, said festival president John Butkowski.
“We all wondered if this thing would actually go on because of the rain, but now the sun is shining down on us,” he said Friday night during the opening ceremony.
Butkowski credited the Corn Festival Committee for its hard work, dedication and devotion to this year’s festival since there were a few kinks in the planning.
With the construction of Center Ridge Road, the committee opted to cancel the annual parade this year partially because of safety concerns for parade participants and viewers.
Additionally, the grass lot on Bainbridge Road that is usually available for parking will be closed this year, the North Ridgeville Police Department reported.
According to the North Ridgeville Police Department Facebook post, due to 4 inches of rain, changes were made to accommodate the rides. The rides, which are limited this year, have been moved to the front of the now-closed parking lot off Bainbridge Road. However, parking will be available at North Ridgeville Academic Center, with a shuttle service operating during festival hours.
No one seemed to mind the slight inconvenience as festival-goers munched on sweet corn, kettle corn and French fries.
“This is a nice party for our community,” Butkowski said before introducing this year’s Golden Kernel Award winner.
Every year since 1991, the North Ridgeville Corn Festival has honored a resident of the community for their service in making North Ridgeville a great place to live, Butkowski said.
Nancy Gavin, 76, was named this year’s Golden Kernel Award winner.
Gavin has lived in North Ridgeville for more than 40 years. She is married to Joe Gavin, and together they raised five children and have 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Throughout her years in North Ridgeville, Gavin has been a member of the Mills Creek Women’s Club, Fields United Methodist Church, North Ridgeville Arts Council, Community Care and the local PTA organizations.
“Nancy is a very quiet and humble person,” Butkowski said. “We are very appreciative for all she has done for the North Ridgeville community.”
After receiving her award, Gavin thanked her friends and family, saying she could not do what she has done without their support.
“I am blessed to have so many caring friends and family,” she said.
The 44th festival runs through Sunday, with free admission, entertainment and parking.